Beyond the BackyardViera Wetlands

Viera Wetlands and Scrub Jays with my Dad

Regular readers of my blog will know that my dad and I love to go out on photo expeditions together.  With my crazy work schedule, we haven’t been out much lately.  All winter I’ve been promising him a trip to Viera Wetlands.  Well, we finally went!  The wetlands were a little quiet, but we had some good photo ops.  Then on the way back, we stopped off to see Scrub Jays.  It was a great morning and so nice to be back out behind a camera!!

Junior Stands Tall at his Nest
Junior Stands Tall at his Nest

The Great Blue Heron nesting season is starting wind down at Viera Wetlands.  Junior, the first baby, stood tall and proud on his nest.  I’m not sure the piggy-back rides that I saw on my last visit amounted to much. Only one pair appeared to still be nest-building.  The rest of the birds had fairly big babies.  I think stick-stealing season is over for the year.

Green Heron
Green Heron

We noticed a little Green Heron sitting at the edge of the water.  They are rarely this visible, preferring to stay under cover when possible.  We hopped out of the car to take a few shots of this very cooperative subject.

Blue-winged Teal (Drake)
Blue-winged Teal (Drake)

The ducks weren’t as plentiful at Viera Wetlands this winter.  There were so few ducks this visit that it reminded me of a summertime visit.  We did spot a couple of Blue-winged Teals that were nice and close to the road.  There wasn’t a lot of wind that day, so the water was still, creating good conditions for great reflections.  My favorite shot was the drake by himself, gliding quietly through the water, alone with his mirror image.

European Starling
European Starling

While Dyeyo photographed the teals, the most common and annoying birds caught my eye.  European Starlings are an introduced species in North America, and they have spread themselves all across the continent.  But they are pretty, with purple and green iridescent plumes.  One was singing on a nearby bush on a great sun angle.  I couldn’t help myself.  All around the starling, the grackles were busy bringing in nesting material.  It’s going to be a noisy spring at Viera Wetlands!

Scrub Jay
Scrub Jay

On our way home, we stopped at the scrub jay trail so that my dad could see the jays up close. We had a scrub jay living in our backyard when I was growing up, but that was years ago. Dyeyo was amazed at how curious the jays were. They hopped out as soon as they noticed us, and came close to check on us. It was a great end to a fun day.